By Leslie Ann Aquino
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will be looking into the claims made by former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos.
On Monday, Marcos questioned the lack of audit logs inside the 38 ballot boxes and wet ballots in four boxes during the start of the manual recount and revision of ballots in relation to his poll protest against Vice President Leni Robredo.
“The COMELEC takes the matter of former Senator Marcos’ allegations seriously,” Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez said in a statement.
“We will be looking into these claims closely, taking into account, the published General Instructions governing the conduct of the 2016 National and Local Elections,” he added.
More specifically, Jimenez cited Section 29 of the GI, covering the Disposition of VCM (vote counting machine), ballot boxes, election returns and other documents.
Section 29 of the GI states that when the counting of votes has ended and the results of the election in the precinct have already been announced, the Board of Election Inspector shall:
A.) place inside the ballot box the sealed envelopes containing the copy of the printed Election Returns intended for the ballot box, copy of the Minutes intended for the ballot box, half of torn unused ballots, and rejected ballots if any.
B.) close the flap of the ballot box with security seal as well as the cover of the ballot box with packaging tape by wrapping the tape around the cover and extending it to the upper part of the ballot box. The BEI shall affix their signatures on the tape, and require the watchers present to also affix their signatures.
C.) Remove the main SD card from slot “A” of the VCM, place the card inside the envelope provided for the purpose, and seal the envelope. The BEI shall also indicate on the envelope the clustered precinct number, barangay and city/municipality/province. Said envelope shall be submitted to the Reception and Custody Group of the City/Municipal Board of Canvassers. The back up SD card shall not be removed from the VCM, and the cover of slot “B” shall remain locked.
D.) Turnover the box containing the VCM and its peripherals to the logistics provider. In the absence of the logistics provider, the BEI shall turnover the VCM box to the Election Officer or his or her authorized representative, who shall in turn, coordinate with the logistics provider for the schedule of the retrieval thereof;
E.) Deliver the ballot box, accompanied by watchers, to the city/municipal treasurer, except the ballot box of the polling place that will be subjected to random manual audit. For this purpose, the city/municipal treasurer shall, at its own expense, provide at the voting center the necessary personnel and facilities for said delivery. In case the box delivered by the BEI is not sealed, the treasurer shall seal the ballot box , and include such fact, together with the serial number of the plastic seal used, in his/her report to the Comelec.
F.) Deliver to the EO the following documents or papers: the Election Day Computerized Voters List; Precinct Computerized Voters List; envelope containing the copy of the Minutes intended for the Comelec; envelope containing the other half of torn unused official ballots, envelope containing initialization report, precinct audit log report and precinct statistical report; envelopes containing copies of the election returns intended for the city/municipal board of canvassers, Congress, Provincial Board of Canvassers, Regional Board of Canvassers in the case of ARMM and the Comelec; envelope containing the main SD card for use by the city/municipal Board of Canvassers and other pertinent papers and documents.
Robredo bested Marcos in the May 2016 vice presidential elections by over 200,000 votes prompting the latter to file an election protest before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal in June 2016.